Nutrient transport, namely absorption from the soil solution as well as nutrient transfer from fungus to plant and carbon movement from plant to fungus are key features of mycorrhizal symbiosis. This review summarizes our current understanding of nutrient transport processes in ectomycorrhizal fungi and ectomycorrhizas. The identification of nutrient uptake mechanisms is a key issue in understanding nutrition of ectomycorrhizal plants. With the ongoing functional analysis of nutrient transporters, identified during sequencing of fungal and tree genomes, a picture of individual transport systems should be soon available, with their molecular functions assessed by functional characterization in, e.g., yeast mutant strains or Xenopus oocytes. Beyond the molecular function, systematic searches for knockout mutants will allow us to obtain a full understanding of the role of the individual transporter genes in the physiology of the symbionts. The mechanisms by which fungal and plant cells obtain, process and integrate information regarding nutrient levels in the external environment and the plant demand will be analyzed.
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